Minutes of the Formal Session


Friday, May 1, 2009



A formal session of the Board of Trustees of Northern Michigan University was held on Friday, May 1, 2009, in the Cohodas Hall of Northern Michigan University, Marquette, Michigan.  The meeting was convened at 9:00 a.m. in the Board of Trustees Meeting Room, 602 Cohodas by Chair Douglas B. Roberts.


Trustees present included:


      Dr. Douglas B. Roberts, Chair                  Mr. Larry C. Inman                 Dr. H. Sook Wilkinson

      Mr. Stephen F. Adamini                           Mr. Jon G. LaSalle                  Mr. Gilbert L. Ziegler

      Mr. Brian D. Cloyd                                   Dr. L. Garnet Lewis                Dr. Leslie E. Wong, ex officio


Senior staff and counsel present included:


      Ms. Catherine L. Dehlin, General Counsel

      Dr. Susan J. Koch, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Mr. R. Gavin Leach, Vice President for Finance and Administration and Treasurer of the Board

      Ms. Theresa M. Nease, Executive Assistant to the President and Secretary of the Board





Ms. Nease reported that there were no requests to address the Board. 





Alumni Association 


Ms. Martha Haynes, Executive Director of Advancement, presented a historical review and future directions of the Alumni Association citing a century of tradition and a decade of change.  Traditional events continuing at NMU include homecoming, alumni awards, and alumni publications, such as Alumni News and Horizons.  The Alumni Association and the NMU Foundation have been housed together since 2000 conveniently sharing resources, common goals and core values, and joint staff meetings and retreats.  Five full time staff members manage the alumni programs and services for more than 58,000 alumni.  The Alumni Association maintains two separate budgets—University General Fund and Foundation managed accounts (self-generated revenue), with slightly more than half coming from the University General Fund.  All self-generated funds go to programs and services that we provide to NMU alums.  2,770 Alumni Association members fund programs and services for more than 58,000 alumni.  This is done through membership drives (annual renewal program, life member and end-of-year solicitation, and a summer calling program for lapsed members).


Ms. Haynes presented a demographic breakdown of NMU alums.  Effort is made to have the Alumni Board of Directors reflect a similar demographic.  The Alumni Association is currently recruiting women and young alums to meet this distribution. 


The Alumni Association Board consists of 30 members serving staggered six-year terms; currently there are 23 serving.  The Board serves in an advisory capacity providing feedback and help to determine if the Alumni Association is headed in the right direction.  The Board meets three times a year with the winter meeting off campus often combining this meeting with an alumni event to promote interaction between the Board and alums.


Eighty-six thousand alums from coast to coast have been reached through 105 events since January 2005 with an average of two events per month.  Expanded programs put in place over the last ten years include a graduation pizza party, faculty/staff homecoming reception, Family Weekend, Fall Fest, and Skill Builders Seminars.  Other expanded services include an Alumni web site, affinity credit card, free email for life, a wildcat license plate program, and a toll free phone number. 


Ms. Deanna Hemmila, Director of Alumni Operations, reported on a new era of alumni engagement using technology and innovation.  Results of a survey completed in 2006 indicate benefits and discounts and career resources are of low importance to alums, however, 84% of alumni felt NMU news and updates are the most important services the Alumni Association offers.  Two examples of using technology tools to provide news and updates to alums are What’s New NMU? and The Northern Network.


What’s New NMU?, a weekly email newsletter, is distributed to 14,000 email addresses and includes the current news, information, and weather at NMU.  The email bag is used as a great connection of alum to alum.  Some examples include a group of alums who sent a picture of themselves on a mountain in Alaska holding an NMU flag and a thank you note from an alumnus who connected with a neighbor from his time at NMU after 40 years after submitting a note to the email bag.  What’s New NMU? also includes pictures of people who stop by the Alumni Office. 


The Northern Network is a secure online and professional network open to all alumni and friends and current juniors and seniors.  The Network is an alumni directory and includes job postings, a career center, and company profiles.  There are 5,000 registered users with 232 different groups and 45 different geographical groups.  1,400 members are 2000+ grads, and there are 900 alums from 1950-1970 showing the network is used by all age groups.  Other technology includes webcasting (campus guest speakers and archive presentations) and blogs.  Alumni services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, reaching alums when they want to be reached.


Ms. Haynes reviewed the Alumni Association Strategic Plan highlighting how it supports the University’s Roadmap to 2015.  A new era of engagement will include increased international travel opportunities for alumni, development of a student community engagement award, increased Alumni Association involvement in academic service learning, Facebook integration, continued cross-campus collaboration, and automatic annual membership renewal.  The Alumni Association continues to be a valuable resource in the areas of recruitment, retention, revenue generation, and quality improvement.  Trustee LaSalle said he appreciates the work the Alumni Association does to reach out to graduating seniors to bring them aboard as soon as possible and their efforts to maintain and build their contact with the University.  This has improved tremendously since he graduated from NMU, and he applauds the Alumni Association for this improvement. 


Mr. Joseph Evans, President of the Alumni Association, said there are 23 professionals on the Alumni Board dedicating their time and talent to the University.  It is a well-qualified Board, and it is his job to continue to keep them engaged and keep them wanting to support the University.  Connection to the students and increasing the membership base continues to be a priority for the Alumni Association. 

Mr. Evans said the Alumni Association is open to suggestions from the NMU Board on ways to improve the Alumni Association services.  Trustee Adamini offered assistance from the NMU Board on making the job of the Alumni Association President easier.  Dr. Wong thanked Mr. Evans for his connection to the University and informed the Board that Mr. Evans was instrumental in connecting NMU to Vaxjo University in Sweden and providing contacts for the CHP project.  He is a wonderful example of an alum who is in an established career and network who utilizes those connections to assist NMU.  Trustee Ziegler suggested having the President of the Alumni Association address the Board as a standing agenda item at every May meeting. 



NMU Foundation History and Overview


Ms. Martha Haynes, Executive Director of Advancement, and Ms. Amy Hubinger, Director of Foundation Operations, presented a history and overview of the NMU Foundation.  The Foundation is a separate 501c(3) non-profit that operates with articles of incorporation and bylaws.  They serve the University, and the sole purpose is to provide funds for the institution. 


Ms. Haynes reviewed the Post-Decisive Season Campaign, NMU’s first ever campaign that concluded approximately five years ago, and some of the issues that faced the University at that point.  Budget issues resulted in significant staff reductions which in turn resulted in a decrease of fundraising momentum; some of the core functions such as qualification, cultivation, solicitation and stewardship had ceased; and the Foundation had turned into more of a gift processing center.  The Foundation was also in the middle of a major database conversion of 80,000 alumni records, and there were transitions in Presidential and Foundation leadership occurring during this time. 


Ms. Haynes reviewed the results of an external audit and the actions taken by the Foundation to resolve the issues.  This included the addition of staff and  improvement of the infrastructure, establishment of priorities among the financial needs using the University’s strategic plan, creation of a comprehensive marketing plan to support fundraising, strengthening of technical support systems for development, development of strong volunteer and Board structures to provide insight and guidance and increased involvement, strengthening the annual giving program through segmentation, professional designed pre-call and other mail pieces, the use of vendor support for phonathon campaign efforts, and increased personal solicitation of high-end donors.  As a result of these improvements, the Foundation continues to increase its revenue intake despite the current economic problems. 


Discussion followed.   Trustee Ziegler requested a review of the Foundation financials at either the July or September meeting.  Trustee Adamini requested a copy of the Foundation Audit.  He said he realizes one of the primary reasons to have the Foundation separate from the University is to keep financial and prospect information confidential and not subject to FOIA requests.  However, he would like the opportunity to review those materials without the records becoming a part of the NMU Board records. 




RECESS – Chair Roberts recessed the meeting at 10:35 a.m. for a break.



RECONVENE Chair Roberts reconvened the meeting at 10:55 a.m.





Mr. Hobie Webster, 2008-2009 ASNMU President, and Mr. Jason Morgan, 2009-2010 ASNMU President, reported.  A copy of the report is appended to these minutes (Addendum #1). 


On behalf of the Board, Chair Roberts congratulated Mr. Morgan on his election, and said the Board looks forward to working with him.  They believe ASNMU is very important, and the Board will take their issues seriously. 


Chair Roberts congratulated Mr. Webster on his success and presented him with a gift on behalf of the Board.  A photo was taken. 





Mr. Bernard introduced Ms. Jodi Lampi, from Ishpeming, MI, who will represent the graduating class at Commencement ceremonies tomorrow.  She is graduating with a History and English/Secondary Education major.  On behalf of the Board, Chair Roberts congratulated Ms. Lampi and presented her with a plaque.  A photo was taken. 





President Wong announced Congressman Bart Stupak, Michigan’s 1st District, D-Menominee, as the Winter 2009 Commencement Speaker.  Congressman Stupak will also receive an Honorary Doctor of Laws.





President Wong reported on the NMU Intercollegiate Athletics Highlights and gave an Athletics Facilities Use Report for 2008-2009.  He reported on the success of the AQIP Quality Check-Up Visit thanking Dr. Cynthia Prosen, Associate Provost and Dean of the College of Graduate Studies, for her hard work on this visit.  Trustee Lewis added her thanks and congratulations, and the Board applauded Dr. Prosen.  President Wong reviewed the progress NMU is making on funding applications from the ARRA Stimulus Bill.  He recognized Mr. Andrew Smentkowski, Associate Director of Research and Sponsored Projects, and said Mr. Smentkowski is reviewing the ARRA Stimulus Bill and has been organizing a number of subgroups on campus to make sure NMU takes advantage of funding opportunities when NMU priorities and programs align with Stimulus Bill opportunities.


President Wong introduced Dr. Emmanuel Awuah, 2008-09 American Council on Education (ACE) Fellow.  Dr. Awuah is currently the Director of Multicultural and International Services at Onondaga Community College in Syracuse, New York, and has been studying areas of NMU including enrollment management, business and finance, development, and academic planning.  Dr. Awuah will be completing his fellowship in June.  Dr. Wong said Northern Michigan University has been fortunate to have

Dr. Awuah on campus this past year and has benefited from his knowledge and experience.  Dr. Awuah has been a tremendous help in articulating two-year programs, assisting NMU to look at diversity more broadly and differently, and was instrumental in getting the African Dance Troupe here from Ghana.  Dr. Awuah thanked Dr. Wong and Dr. Koch who were his main mentors, but thanked everyone on campus for working with him and welcoming him so warmly.  He said he has gained great insight in the culture of this campus and learned that people on this campus “keep their eye on the prize,” which is on the quality of experiences that NMU provides to students to be successful.  He believes this campus has great leaders and believes he is going away wiser and richer and with fond memories of his time at NMU.


President Wong offered his thanks and appreciation to Dr. Rajib Sanyal, Dean of the College of Business, who will be taking a position at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana.  (Dr. Sanyal was not present.)  He noted Dr. Sanyal’s contributions to NMU include the Trading Room, the Student Investment Club, and the Student Business Competition.





Academic Affairs


Mr. LaSalle, Chair of the Academic Affairs Committee, reported on a meeting held Thursday, April 30, 2009.  A copy of the report is appended to these minutes (Addendum #2). 




Mr. Adamini, Chair of the Finance Committee, reported on a meeting held this morning.  A copy of the report is appended to these minutes (Addendum #3). 




Mr. Cloyd, Chair of the Executive committee, reported on the meeting held on May 1, 2009.  A copy of the report is appended to these minutes (Addendum #4). 


Trustee Inman said Dr. Wong is an outstanding leader, and he has been proud of the relationship

Dr. Wong has established with the Board and the community.  He said he understands Dr. Wong’s feelings in terms of the budget situation and having his salary frozen and commends him for showing leadership in difficult budget times, but he remarked that we have to be cognitive of making sure that our NMU team maintains a competitive compensation range compared with other universities.  He said at some point in time when the revenue curve starts to show positive he would be one member of the Board to support a salary review and possible adjustments at that time for Dr. Wong and whoever else might be affected as we move forward with the budget.  He’d like those considerations to be taken into account as we make decisions in the future knowing the salaries were held back in a potentially tough budget situation.



Based on the recommendation of the Executive Committee, the Board then took action as follows:


         It was moved by Trustee Cloyd, seconded by Chair Roberts, and supported unanimously by the Board that following the Executive Committee's annual presidential compensation review as specified in the Presidential Employment Agreement, President Leslie E. Wong's 2009-2010 base salary be increased by $10,000 bringing the total base salary to $204,225 per year.   However, after receiving strong objections from Dr. Wong, who indicated he would not accept the salary increase, the Board agrees to freeze his salary for 2009-2010.



Ad Hoc Recruitment and Retention


Mr. Ziegler, Chair of the Ad Hoc Recruitment and Retention Committee, reported on meetings held on April 2, 2009 (Addendum #5) and May 1, 2009 (Addendum #6).  A copy of the reports are appended to these minutes.





Mr. Ziegler expressed concern with increasing room and board rates in light of the economic situation in the State, the situation with Chrysler, and the possibility of employee layoffs and an enrollment decrease this year.  Chair Roberts agreed and said he believes the budget situation will get worse, but at this point we need to continue to take as much action as we can tolerate before we get to the stage where we can’t do anything else.  Mr. Inman said NMU is still the lowest compared with our peers, and we are still extremely competitive.  Mr. Cloyd said we have to keep a balance between the quality we are providing and a watchful eye on costs.  He is very comfortable that the number we came up with strikes a good balance.  Economic times are tough, but organizations are continuing to operate and still have to continue to add to the quality of the organization.  He said we have to be prudent, but we have to keep our eye on what we are doing from a financial standpoint. 


Trustee LaSalle called attention to the faculty, staff and student awards listed in the formal recommendations (Excellence in Service Award, Distinguish Team Award, Distinguished Faculty Award, TLC Award, and BOT Student Achievement Awards).  He asked the Board to be sure to take a look at these awardees, as they really deserve the Board’s thanks, recognition, and respect.  Chair Roberts reminded the Board there will be a luncheon honoring these individuals following the meeting.


It was moved by Trustee Inman, seconded by Trustee LaSalle, and unanimously supported by the Board of Trustees to approve the Formal Recommendations.  (Addendum #7)





President Wong made this announcement for the public record. 





Chair Roberts adjourned the meeting at 11:55 p.m.



Respectfully submitted,




Theresa M. Nease

Secretary of the Board